Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ritter to announce how Colorado will bridge $60 million budget gap - The Denver Post

Ritter to announce how Colorado will bridge $60 million budget gap - The Denver Post

Gov. Bill Ritter today will announce plans to bridge a more than $60 million shortfall in the current state budget.

The plan is likely to entail some one-time solutions such as using cash-fund balances or delaying expenses.

It also could include spending cuts, but Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said there would be no additional cuts to public schools or higher education.

In the previous fiscal year, which ended in June, the state's budget- balancing actions included eight furlough days for state employees, which allowed for $16 million in general-fund savings. Ritter has not called for furloughs in the current year, though he has not ruled them out.

Ritter, a Democrat, will have to take the newest budget-balancing actions as a result of Congress appropriating less in enhanced funding for Medicaid than originally thought.

Colorado and dozens of other states wrote their 2010-11 budgets based on the belief that Congress would extend an enhanced federal match to Medicaid from January to June, covering the second half of the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ends in June.

For Colorado, the additional funding was worth nearly $212 million, and it looked for a time during the summer that a Congress weary of deficit spending would not approve the additional Medicaid funding. But Congress last week approved a compromise measure that will mean Colorado gets an estimated $144 million in extended aid.

That still leaves a budget hole somewhere north of $60 million, Ritter officials said.

"Over the past two years since the recession took hold in Colorado, we have cut spending and closed shortfalls of $3.5 billion," Dreyer said. "We'll release a new balancing plan that closes another shortfall of $60 million to $70 million, and that plan will contain the same strategies that we have utilized since 2008.

"We're going to maintain essential services. We're going to minimize pain. And we're going to use a shared-sacrifice and shared-solution approach."

Dreyer cautioned that the budget-balancing might not stop there. The state's next economic forecast will be released in September, and if the news is grim, there could be an October balancing plan, he said.

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